After announcing the GT1 World and GT3 Europe calendars on Friday SRO today announced the calendar for the brand new GT Endurance Series, which will be known as the Blancpain Endurance Series. This stand-alone series will feature five races, with the Total 24 Hours of Spa being the highlight of the season.
As previously announced on Planetlemans the series will be reserved for GT3 and GT4 cars and each weekend, apart from the Spa 24 Hours, will have three-hour events rather than the one-hour sprint races that are now standard in the SRO series. All details on the Blancpain Endurance Series regulations can be found here.
The Blancpain Endurance Series will bring the GT3 and GT4 cars to famous tracks like Monza, Spa-Francorchamps, Silverstone but also to the brand new circuit of Navarra in Spain and the former French Grand Prix circuit at Magny Cours.
Stephane Ratel: “After just a year away from the long-distance format, we are returning to our roots. This three-hour format was the backbone of our racing for a decade, and has proved its popularity and worth. With some of the most beautiful, powerful and challenging circuits in Europe on the calendar, no clashes with national or European GT3 Championships, and categories to suit all drivers and teams, I am certain that this new series has a real chance of success. We are aiming at grids of thirty or so cars, and are certain that many teams competing with us in either the FIA GT3 European Championship or the GT4 European Cup will appreciate the opportunity to stretch their legs on longer races, amortising their costs and pleasing their drivers.”
Ratel also made it clear that the creation of the Blancpain Endurance Series should not be seen as a signal that one-hour sprint races for GT cars are not working. “Although we are convinced that the one-hour sprint format is ideal for the growing mediatisation of our professional series, we are aware that we have left some of our most staunch supporters behind,” Stephane Ratel commented. “Some of the gentlemen drivers, and a number of smaller teams, are looking for a new challenge. We believe that the Blancpain Endurance Series will provide them with exactly the right environment.”
SRO Motorsports Group will promote the new series, but the FIA sanctioned series will run under the auspices of the Royal Automobile Club of Belgium (RACB).
The 2011 Blancpain Endurance Series calendar:
1. Monza (ITA) 17 April 2011
2. Navarra (ESP) 22 May 2011
3. Spa-Francorchamps (BEL) 30 July 2011
4. Magny Cours (FRA) 27 August 2011
5. Silverstone (GBR) 9 October 2011